GUYOT environnement – Team Europe may not be in race mode at the moment, but the arrival in Itajaí/Brazil after the transfer from Cape Town/South Africa is nevertheless a significant moment. It marks the beginning of the return to The Ocean Race after the team around skipper Benjamin Dutreux had to abandon the third leg in the Southern Ocean after structural delamination of the hull. After a feat of strength with a hull repair within a week, the transfer crew of Sébastien Simon, Phillip Kasüske, Jimmy le Baut, Clovis Gautier and onboard reporter Charles Drapeau managed the Atlantic transfer on the approximately 4500 nautical mile course in a little less than 15 days. In Itajaí, the yacht was already welcomed by the team around skipper Benjamin Dutreux, who had already travelled to Brazil to set up the base after a few days off in France.
While the fleet of four other Imocas competed for victory and points some 900 nautical miles from the finish, the black yacht arrived in Itajaí out of competition. “We are happy to receive the crew here well prepared,” said Benjamin Dutreux. “Of course I would have preferred to be on board and come in here after the Southern Ocean leg. But we have managed a big challenge with the team. We still have a lot to do for the last half of the race, and we want to master it as well as possible. For that we are on a good way, because we are here in time with the other crews. The boat looks good. We can still work off some details that we haven’t been able to do so far. And we hope that will get us back in the game. We’re proud of the team and proud of our sponsors for their support.”
For the transfer crew, it has been an exciting two weeks even without racing. On the transfer, wind conditions alternated between light breeze and 40 knots with heavy waves. There were heavy rain showers and atmospheric sunrises and sunsets. By launching a meteorological research buoy in the Atlantic, GUYOT environnement – Team Europe participated in the scientific work of The Ocean Race. But after days of intense heat, alleviated only by the salt water spray on deck, the crew was united on arrival by small wishes: good, local food, a shower and a proper bed. But all five were also sure that they would miss the passage together in this crew.